Halloween is finally here and I can't express how excited I am. This is very much "my" holiday because I don't have to plan anything but my own enjoyment...oh and all the hordes of children that come to the house desperately seeking the means to a diabetic coma. I love everything about Halloween and this year I was particularly excited to have released 31 short stories to help get everyone in the spirit. Thanks to everyone that has been reading each day and playing along and if you haven't enjoyed a little thrill during October, you really need to get on board the party bus.
Because I'm a firm believer in treats needing to keep a coming, I have a very short story for all you tricksters. As always be safe and just naughty enough to not end up on probation.
Unedited and Copyrighted by Janet Eckford
Life of the Party
"You do know this is a stupid idea."
I don't bother looking at the group behind me, in particular Little Ms. Naysayer Gloria. She knew what I had planned and complaining every step of the way was really starting to annoy me. I should have just kept my big mouth shut and come out here on my own, as I'd been doing for the last ten years. Except, this year I was trying to open myself up more and all that crap my therapist kept harping on. But he never did understand me. Waste of money if you asked me but the only thing that kept the hounds at bay.
"So, what is the big deal about this place?"
"You'll see when we get there," I whispered over my shoulder to Steven.
Pushing through the thick brush that wound it's way around the path that was invisible to most, I tuned out the whispering voices behind me. If they didn't shut up they were going to ruin everything. God, why did I have to open my big mouth.
"Are you sure we aren't trespassing?" Claire's nasally voice cared through the dark night.
Whipping around I glared at the group of people I'd picked up over the last several months. The light of my flashlight wasn't bright enough to illuminate all of their faces but I could sense Claire, Steven, Gloria and the blessedly silent Anne staring back at me. Taking in a deep breath I looked up at the star filled sky and begged the universe for patience.
"I didn't ask you to come. You all have free will and if you don't want to be here you can just leave. This is the one time of the year I actually have fun and I don't need you spoiling it for me."
I watched as they all shuffled and shifted in the shadows of the night. I didn't even care that my tone was biting and sharp. This was the one time of the year I didn't have to hear the incessant whining of those stuck between this world and the next. Can you please deliver a message to my daughter? I hid the money in the bottom of the hope chest in the attic. It wasn't a suicide. Blah, blah, blah, blah!! Rubbing my temples I used the counting exercise my therapist suggested and by the time I'd gotten to fifty I was feeling a bit better.
Looking at the group of the nearly but not so dearly departed I'd collected recently, I gave them one final hard stare before I turned back toward the path. I could hear the sounds of chatter in the distance of the dilapidated cemetery. It sounded as if the numbers were even larger this year and I felt my heart quicken with anticipation. The wind began to rustle in the trees and a chill breeze ruffled my unruly hair. Tonight they didn't need me because tonight was the night they got to walk the Earth freely. It was the best sort of night because it was the rare occasion that I really enjoyed being the life of the party.
To read more curious and odd stories of the macabre, don't forget to pick up my collection of 31 short stories from Mocha Memoirs Press.
It's hard for me to pick a time in my life when I haven't enjoyed the thrill of a good scare. The heady anticipation of the adrenaline rush, the heart beating faster, and the prickly feel of tiny hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. This "scare" is of course always controlled and contained. I don't seek out fear just for the thrill of it but when I read a particularly scary story or watch an especially frightening movie, I am in love with how that narrative is causing my senses to go in overdrive. Fear can also have another face, one of longing, regret and precious moments lost but frozen in time. That type of fear is often the scariest for me to experience because the fantasy of what may hurt me is all too real. But of course I enjoy it just the same. This collection of shorts is inspired by the many facets of "fear" and housed within the context of one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.
Each day you have the opportunity to read a story that will hopefully have you checking under the bed each night, sleeping with at least one light on or shivering with relief that it isn't your story being told. My greatest wish for you is that by the 31st day of October, you too will revel in all things that go bump in the night and with anticipation waiting for next year's delights.